London Assembly

Calls for government to end 'no fault' evictions

Local Democracy Reporting Service

The government must do more to protect tenants in an “often unfair and unforgiving” rental market, a London politician has said.

Labour’s London Assembly housing spokesperson Tom Copley urged the government to swiftly end ‘no fault’ evictions.

Under current legislation, landlords can evict tenants at the end of a fixed-term rental without giving a reason for their decision.

But the process – known as a Section 21 notice – is controversial because it can leave people vulnerable to homelessness.

Last year, 3,180 households in London needed help with housing from their local council because of a risk of homelessness from a ‘no fault’ eviction.

Theresa May’s government announced plans to end Section 21 notices in April, and a public consultation on the private rental sector was opened in July.

The consultation closed this weekend – but there was no housing legislation in the Queen’s Speech on Monday, suggesting it is not a priority for Boris Johnson’s Government.

Mr Copley has now written to the new Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick, urging him to push forward with the changes.

A spokesperson for the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government said: “The Government is committed to delivering a fairer, good quality and more affordable private rented sector.

“Our consultation on Section 21 of the Housing Act recently closed and the Government will respond in due course.”

'City Airport must prioritise residents' - London Assembly

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Planes at London City Airport

London City Airport should prioritise the well-being of residents over profit in any changes to flight patterns, the London Assembly has said.

City Hall’s Environment Committee submitted evidence to the airport’s public consultation on Monday, highlighting the risks from plane noise.

The central London airport’s Draft Master Plan lays out plans for expansion up to 2035, with 40,000 more flights a year to meet growing demand.

Almost 750,000 people are currently overflown by City Airport planes at below 4,000 ft, the range at which the Civil Aviation Authority prioritises noise pollution from flights.

Caroline Russell, chair of the London Assembly’s environment committee said there was “concerning evidence” that plane noise impacts Londoners quality of life.

“The damaging effect of aircraft noise on Londoners’ lives can no longer be ignored," she said.

But a spokesman for the airport stressed that plans were not finalised, and all views expressed into the consultation would be considered.

“As London’s most central airport, we know we have a responsibility to be a good neighbour, which is exactly why we are participating in this airspace modernisation programme", he said.

London Assembly report probes school exclusion increase

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Schools unable to deal with children with behavioural problems and learning difficulties is leading to an increase in exclusions, a report has claimed.

The report from the London Assembly education panel investigates why school exclusions in the capital are on the increase.

There were 980 permanent school exclusions and 37,790 temporary exclusions in 2016 in the capital compared with 780 and 34,965 respectively in 2013.

The report said the rise in exclusions is partly caused by difficulties faced by schools in dealing with pupils with “complex needs” – such as learning or behavioural difficulties, mental health issues and unsafe home situations.

Jennette Arnold, the chairman of the education panel, said: “All children need a wide range of support systems to bring the best out of them in their academic and extracurricular studies.

“It’s important that young people get the best start in life. Outside of the home the next place that can happen is in the classroom, so we must make sure they are actually there.”

Figures from the Department for Education showed pupils with special education needs, children in care and pupils eligible for free school meals are just some of the groups of those overrepresented in exclusion figures.

According the report – which looked at testimonies from people working in education – a lack of funding has meant people working with children and assessing their social, emotional and educational needs are no longer available.

The report also raised concerns that these pupils are being “off-rolled”– unofficially excluded to boost school exam results.

Ms Arnold added: "Young people who have challenging behaviours must not be brushed to the side via hidden exclusions or bare minimum support. Instead, they need even more support than the average pupil.

“We have a duty to these students because letting them down has wide-ranging consequences we need to consider seriously.”

Princess Diana among names suggested for blue plaques

Poster of Princess Diana

Princess Diana, suffragette Emily Davison and journalist Jill Dando were among 100 women suggested by Londoners to be given blue plaques in London.

Notting Hill Carnival organiser Claudia Jones, Grunwick strike heroine Jayaben Desai and the capital's first female elected councillor Reina Lawrence were also named following a campaign by the London Assembly members who urged Londoners to nominate 100 females who should be awarded plaques.

The campaign was launched after English Heritage, who run the blue plaque scheme, revealed only 14% of the capital's current plaques honour women.

Jennette Arnold OBE, deputy chair of the London Assembly, said the list of women were "awe inspiring" and the plaques were "an important way of recognising the contributions of those who lived in London."

Reacting to the list, Anna Eavis, secretary of the English Heritage Blue Plaques Panel, said there were some "great suggestions" which would be considered.

Fire alarm delays London Assembly hearing

A police and crime committee hearing which was due to start at 10:00 GMT at City Hall was delayed due to a fire alarm.

The London Fire Brigade and Ambulance Service and the Metropolitan Police said they were not involved in the incident.

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London Assembly UKIP group disbands

A UKIP group within the London Assembly has disbanded amid a string of resignations from the party.

David Kurten and Peter Whittle both remain members of the political group - but they've announced within the last hour that they've formed a new group within the assembly called the Brexit Alliance.

There's been widespread upset within the party over the last few weeks since the ex-English Defence League leader Tommy Robinson was appointed as an adviser to UKIP's leader, Gerard Batten.

A number of people have resigned from the party as a result, including former leader Nigel Farage.

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Politicians quit UKIP over Tommy Robinson role

BBC Politics

Paul Nuttall

UKIP's former leader and his colleague in the London Assembly have quit the party in protest at the decision to appoint Tommy Robinson as an adviser.

Paul Nuttall said he was leaving because the party was being taken in a direction "harmful to Brexit".

The association with the former English Defence League leader would "appall many moderate Brexit voters," he said.

Mr Nuttall's resignation follows that of fellow former leader Nigel Farage, who expressed similar sentiments.

Former London mayoral candidate and serving London Assembly member Peter Whittle also announced he was quitting UKIP.

Read the full story here.